I speak to my dog in a soft high pitched voice, I probably give her too many treats, I probably pat and praise her too much. She owns the couch and I let her up on the bed. If she’s naughty I can’t stay mad at her for more than 5 seconds. I love her with all of my heart.
I spend every day with my dog(ok, we’re attached by the hip). We do all our daily things together like eat, sleep, run errands, play. And she comes to work with me to earn her kibble. We adventure together and we have movie nights together. We listen to music together and wander the woods together. We are happy together and we go through challenges together. She’s my little light.
And she loves to bike!
Dogs are incredible companions. They are loyal, loving and protective. After all, we dog parents take care of all their basic needs and more. That makes us a pretty important person in their life.
Laska was found as a lone stray pup on a First Nations Reserve in the North West Territories of Canada. The NWT SPCA took her in and connected with one of the many wonderful rescue organizations that exist, Loveabull Rescue Society in Surrey, BC. where she was fostered and cared for until she could be adopted. She is a Pitbull type and Labrador mix. She had loads of energy and was classified as an active dog. Apart from seeing a photo of her, that is all I knew about her when I went to meet her for the first time.
So I took her as a foster at first but after a couple of days(ok, after a couple of minutes), I knew she was mine. We both really hit the Jackpot. She’s not perfect and neither am I but she turned out to be such a great dog for what our daily lives entail. I couldn’t imagine if she ended up in a home where she was walked around the same sports field every day. Or just left to hang out in the perimeter of the yard. She is the type of dog that needs space to run free or she could easily have been deemed as too difficult or become a “bad dog”. This is why it’s so important to do your best in choosing a dog suitable to your lifestyle. And to make sure that you are prepared to give them the time that they deserve.
Dogs are a big commitment. It’s not always love, cuddles and cuteness. They can be messy! They need training, exercise, stability and love specific to their needs so they have the opportunity to be the good dogs that they are. There are also costs involved in raising a dog and that takes some consideration. But most of all, they need your time and your energy because, when it comes down to it, you are all they have.
Here are some of my favourite Trail Dog Tips:
Make sure there are sources of water on your chosen route. Usually there are creaks and streams along the way on most of our rides. But if it is the middle of summer and the ride is longer than an hour, I always bring extra water with me to share with my furry companion. She will drink right out of my hand or I bring a collapsable bowl to fill up for her.
Snacks! Every dog loves a snack and if I ever take Laska on an adventure over 2 hours, I pack her snacks along with mine. Her own doggy treats, cashews and dried mango are her favourites.
She carries her own leash! I bought her a collar that has a built in 4ft retractable leash and it has turned out to be one of the best purchases I’ve ever made! Rad Dog, based out of Bellingham, WA, make the Release N Run Leash and it’s strong and super convenient. I never have to pack a leash with me and then fumble to pull it out if I need to reign her in quickly or cross a road.
Train them to bike! I’m lucky that Laska is quite smart and instinctual and figured out pretty quickly when we will be faster than her and when we will be slower than her in terms of terrain. She also figures out where she can take short cuts, when to be out of the way and when she should wait. She is quite the herder! But it does take some patience and training when they start. Giving them a little nudge in the butt with your tire might help them to discover that they need to establish a perimeter between themselves and the bike.
Don’t run your doggy too hard. Obviously. Like most dogs, Laska is the type of dog that is up for any adventure and would keep on running and running and running until the sun went down. Laska is mostly always faster than us on the climbs and she is quick on the descents but bikes are fast. Take it easier with them. Take breaks along the way. You wouldn’t take your dog on a Strava mission(not that I have Strava!)and give them plenty of rest days in between ride days. Mix it up. Use your judgment, be responsible.
Avoid nasty hard-on-the-paws terrain and conditions. Leave doggy at home if it’s a hot rocky descent you are planning on ripping down that summer afternoon. I have heard of dogs that have had the bottoms of their paws burned off. Not worth it. I’ve never seen my dog get more excited than when we start getting our bike gear on. Keep it a positive experience for them for years to come!
I believe it is important that we take responsibility for all dogs. After all, it is humans that domesticated them, bred them, were greedy and careless with them and created a situation where there is now an over population of dogs on this planet and many are now suffering as a result. This is why I am sharing my story, just one of millions, with you. In an effort to encourage considering bringing a rescue dog into your family and to encourage adopting over shopping.
Laska has filled a hole in my life that I didn’t know was there. She has brought me so many laughs, brought my attention to so many simple things I would have probably otherwise missed. Returned my investment of time and energy ten fold. She is a wonder. And she makes my rides that much more fun.